Nearly one in five adults in the U.S. has an anxiety disorder, a mental health issue typically characterized by worrying and stress that's not linked to any particular event. But this experience is by no means the same for everyone. Symptoms of anxiety can range from social withdrawal to chest pains. To put a human face on anxiety and show all the ways it can manifest, Stigma Fighters founder and CEO Sarah Fader created the Twitter hashtag #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike, Scary Mommy reports.
For months, people have been sharing how their own anxiety impacts them emotionally, physically, and socially.
Others are sharing memes that perfectly (and humorously) sum up the experience for some of us.
This one does a good job capturing the sheer variety of forms anxiety takes.
Others have been sharing how they cope with their anxiety, from baking to simply talking about it.
Fader, who suffers from chronic anxiety herself, wrote in a Huffington Post essay that she came up with the hashtag on a night when a friend didn't text her back and she assumed she was mad at her — a typical manifestation of her own anxiety.
"Before I knew it, there was a burgeoning community of anxious people sharing their thoughts about how anxiety touches their lives," she wrote. "Some tweets were poignant, while others were humorous. I related to so many of them, and anxiously strove to keep up with sharing all of the tweets that used the hashtag. It was a thrilling experience to see so many people connect with this hashtag." Now, she's collecting the tweets on the Twitter page @AnxietyHashtag.
Part of treating anxiety is identifying it so you can determine when there's really something to fear and when it's just the anxiety talking. By spreading awareness about the condition, this hashtag has the potential to help people with that. It also serves as an important reminder that no matter what your anxiety looks like, you're not alone in experiencing it.